This year has been a total whirlwind and one I’m thoroughly enjoying. I’ve been super busy doing a variety of different work and doing my best to keep myself as fit as possible leading up to the events I'm signed up to.
The first event was Prudential Ride London which was amazing. Beforehand, I was really looking forward to just being able to ride my bike and take in the sights, although the reality was I got super competitive and ended up finishing with a pretty quick time. Having said that, I enjoyed it so so much and would recommend it to anyone. Riding on closed roads in the centre of London with thousands of others was such a special experience. Everyone was so encouraging and you felt such a sense of teamwork and pride over the finish line.
The next challenge is Swim Serpentine which is a huge challenge for me. I used to swim competitively before I started cycling but that was over 14 years ago and I haven’t been in a pool since (apart from on holiday but that doesn’t count!).
I was lucky enough to go to a swimming camp called ‘The Best Fest’ in March of this year where I took part in my first open water event. I was super nervous but thankfully I had Olympic swimmer Jazz Carlin (who also did Prudential Ride London) to help me through. Having a wetsuit on was alien to me but I found it really comfortable and actually easier to swim long distances in.
The longest event I swam was 1.9km so I’ve recently been back in the pool doing longer distances to build up for Swim Serpentine, which is 3.2km. I’m really looking forward to it and I'm feeling super motivated for a different sporting challenge.
After the Swim Serpentine, my plan is to start running more regularly again. After suffering two stress fractures when I first started running after retiring from professional cycling I’ve had to take it really slowly.
I've been working with a strength and conditioning coach to help me get used to impact through my lower body and make me more robust when running. The aim will be to build up to just under half marathon distance before running the Wiggle Manchester Half Marathon on 13th October. I will aim to run 3/4 times a week with a mixture of slow, long runs and interval sessions.
I don’t want to set myself a target time but I'll be really happy to finish with no injuries. This has been the biggest challenge since I stopped riding and I hope that my experience will help me to advise others wanting to do the same.
When I was riding I did no high impact activities other than gym work specific to cycling. This meant my bones weren’t able to deal with the impact that running had on my legs resulting in two stress fractures. Additionally, because I was fit from cycling I started running too fast, too soon so would advise anyone transitioning to really start from basics when running to help your body adapt.
I’m loving the freedom of being able to take part in different sporting events and train in different ways which keeps me really motivated to stay fit and healthy, and at the same time raise money for 3 great causes close to my heart, British Heart Foundation, Great Ormond Street Hospital, and Bloodwise. If you can spare a few pennies I’d be really grateful.